Guest post: Rocky's Tex Mex Chicken Salad

Remember that post from a couple of weeks ago with the recipe for plum cobbler where I talked about the lovely dinner I had my awesome friends Rocky and Charity and their daughter Constance? Here is the follow up to that, with the recipe for the salad that Rocky prepared for us. 
As I mentioned, Rocky lived in Rome this past year as Charity completed her masters at Loyola (you can all about his adventures here: He is a trained chef, having worked at the upscale iNG restaurant in Chicago along with the great Chef Homaro Cantu. Rocky's specialty is American cuisine, and he brought a touch of the States to Italy this year preparing macaroni and cheese, burgers, Philly cheese steaks, chocolate chip cookies, and miniature apple pies (among others) for Charity, Constance, and anyone else lucky enough to be invited to dinner at their house. Beyond being a great cook, Rocky is also an amazing father (stay at home dad to Constance this year) and all around one of the nicest, funniest, and most genuine people you will ever meet. When paired with Charity, he is also one half of one of the world's most awesome couples. I miss this little family tons but am so happy to have had the opportunity to get to know them this year! And now let's get to today's recipe! 

In true Rocky style, this is an American recipe with a touch of tex mex flavor, full of ingredients that are not found on Italian menus (avocado, barbecue dressing, and grilled chicken). This salad was light and refreshing yet still filling, not to mention chock full of healthy ingredients. It would be a great recipe to prepare leading up to the warmer weather (translation: bathing suit season) or this summer when anything above room temperature seems impossible to eat. The barbecue dressing really makes this dish -- it pairs perfectly of course with the chicken and adds a touch of smoky sweetness to all of the other ingredients. Note that I did not put quantities here as Rocky never measures anything. Feel free to eyeball the quantities of ingredients and choose what exactly you would like to add to the salad -- completely up to you! Enjoy!

 Rocky and Constance enjoying the last of the plum cobbler


Chicken breasts
Taco seasoning
Cucumber, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Celery, diced
Jicama, peeled and sliced
Black beans, drained and rinsed
Corn, fresh or canned (drained and rinsed)
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Avocado, peeled and diced
Bbq sauce 
Olive oil 
White vinegar 

Bread for serving

Marinate the chicken in olive oil and taco seasoning for a minimum of 30 minutes, the longer the better. Sauté the chicken in a large skillet in olive oil until cooked through, and then set aside to cool. Slice the chicken into strips when cool enough to handle and set aside.

To make the dressing, whisk together equal parts barbecue sauce, olive oil and white vinegar until it is emulsified. Toss all salad ingredients together (or the chicken, lettuce, and whatever of the above ingredients you have selected) in a large bowl and coat lightly with the dressing (serve the remaining dressing on the side). Serve with bread if you'd like. 

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